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Welcome to the CHA Syllabi Central

This portal will showcase the different methods used by members to teach History. We hope this resource will be of value to graduate students, new instructors, and established teachers who want to shake up their approaches in the classroom. We invite you to submit syllabi from all levels of classroom instruction, representing any geographical region or historical period, and written in either official language. All submissions should have a description of the course that will be searchable and can be up to 250 words in length.  We trust that members will use these shared resources responsibly.


Laura Ishiguro

Course Subject: 

Introduction to Canadian History


February 12, 2016

This course is a team-taught introduction to Canadian history, designed and delivered by Canadian historians in the UBC Department of History. Rather than a broad survey, the course investigates different interpretations of a number of “defining moments” that have shaped northern North America. More specifically, HIST 235 revolves around the question – what “moments” have mattered in Canada’s history, and why? – and the wide range of ways in which we might answer this question. Lectures are delivered by different historians, who each draw on their particular areas of expertise in order to answer the question posed by the course. Readings, assignments, and tutorial discussions and activities then give students further opportunity to assess lecturers’ answers, to understand each “moment” in its broader historical context, to make connections between different “moments,” and to explore other possible responses to the question. Like other 200-level courses in the UBC History department, HIST 235 is also designed to introduce key areas of historical practice including primary source analysis, historical writing, library and media skills, and public history.


David Webster

Course Subject: 

History / Canada and the World


December 31, 1969

HIS 241 – Canada and the World in the Twentieth Century

Fall 2020, online


Instructor: Dr. David Webster

Class meeting times: Mondays 9-10, plus asynchronous online discussion and work. Meetings take place using Microsoft Teams, discussion and other work is done using the class site on moodle but may also use Teams for some purposes.

Hours: Open office hours Mondays 10-11 (immediately after class). Multiple other times will be available through the online office hours scheduler on moodle.

E-mail: dwebster@ubishops.ca

Course Description

Topics include Canada and imperialism, the two world wars, the development of Canadian foreign policy, the golden age of Canadian diplomacy, Canada and the League of Nations, and the United Nations.

Required Readings

·         Asa McKercher, Canada and the World since 1867 (London: Bloomsbury, 2019)

·         Selected articles and primary sources available via moodle/library catalogue.

Course Requirements and Evaluation

·         Reading responses: 15%

·         Primary source worksheets: 15%

·         Discussion forum contributions: 20%

·         Primary source analysis: 15%

·         Research essay: 35%

As a primarily online course that meets for one hour per week, you will have to do a significant amount of work online, and submit work each week. Assignments are based on an estimate that in addition to one hour in a virtual classroom, you will spend roughly two hours each per week on the moodle discussion forum and simulations of debates in Canadian foreign policy history.

The assignments expected every week use contract grading, meaning you know in advance what mark you will receive based on the guidelines spelled out below. IN effect, this is a contract that you will respond each week and I will assign the mark promised. You may safely miss 2 of the 10 weeks for illness or emergencies with no penalty. If you respond to all 12, then you 2 lowest marks will be dropped. These weekly assignments are:

·         Reading response: each week you will be given a worksheet with assigned questions about the reading. You should complete your answers to those questions and upload them to moodle as a pdf or using the quiz function. You will have 12 opportunities to complete a reading response. The two lowest responses will be dropped (meaning you can safely miss two, if this is necessary, without losing marks). Possible marks: 1.5 (excellent response to all questions); 1 (satisfactory response to all questions); 0.5 (assignment handed in, but responses not satisfactory); or 0 (no response). Aim at 50-100 words per question on these assignments.

·         Primary source analysis: This course spends a substantial amount of time dealing with primary sources in the history of Canadian foreign relations. There will be a self-study primary source workshop on moodle each week that relates to the time period covered by that week. The Department of History and Global Studies uses this definition: “Primary sources are sources produced in the time period under study. Primary sources can vary from written documents to material sources and even oral sources for those who have access to interviews.” Each week, you will be asked to complete a one-page primary document analysis worksheet that asks you to analyse a document. As with the reading responses, you will have 12 opportunities to complete a reading response. The two lowest responses will be dropped (meaning you can safely miss two, if this is necessary, without losing marks). Possible marks: 1.5 (excellent response to all questions); 1 (satisfactory response to all questions); 0.5 (assignment handed in, but responses not satisfactory); or 0 (no response).

·         Discussion forum: Each week we will spend time discussing assigned readings, lectures and primary sources using the discussion forum on moodle. You should plan to make at least three posts each week. One of these should be an original comment on some aspect of the reading, lecture, or assigned primary sources. This may respond to a discussion question from the instructor or another relevant topic of your choice. In these cases, please open a new thread. Two of these responses may be replies to threads opened by others. You may open more than one thread if you wish, and you may post more than three times if you wish. The marks available for this assignment are: 2 (an excellent, thoughtful response to the week’s themes); 1.5 (a good response that meets all expectations); 1 (a partial response that is mostly satisfactory) 0.5 (an unsatisfactory response); or 0 (no response).

 Major assignments:

·         Your primary source analysis will ask you to describe and analyse the key features and messages of one primary source document, selected from the Documents on Canadian External Relations series (or another source, if you obtain instructor permission in advance. This paper should identify the creator, audience, purpose, significance, unanswered questions and any other important elements of the source, and set it in its historical context. In other words, it should answer the five questions/levels of analysis in the departmental research guide at https://www.ubishops.ca/academic-programs/faculty-of-arts-and-science/humanities/history-global-studies/research-guide/. Aim at 700-1,000 words or 2-4 pages double-spaced, but you will not be penalized for going longer.

·         Your research essay is a key component of the course and must show evidence of additional research beyond assigned readings. It requires a research question, a thesis statement (eg “this essay will argue that…”), research using both primary and secondary sources, and a clear conclusion. Alternatively, with instructor permission, you may choose to present your findings visually in the form of a research poster, or as an online project showcasing your research. Please discuss your choice with me in advance.

There is no final exam in this course.

Learning during a pandemic

None of us chose the current conditions. We are all doing this type of course for the first time. The word “unprecedented” is thrown around a lot, but for a reason: we are in uncharted territory. I appreciate that this is tough on everyone. I’ll make mistakes. Your life situation may change. Therefore, I’ve tried to design this course to minimize additional stress. There is no final exam. I am not imposing late penalties for essays, and the idea of contract grading is intended to maximize clarity and certainty as much as possible at a time when the future seems uncertain in too many ways. Please do tell me if at any time it all seems like too much. Your health is more important than any course. If you run into troubles, we will find a solution.

COVID-specific statements/reminders

All faculty, librarians, staff, students, and administrators will be expected to do a basic health assessment each day before coming to campus which will be available online and via the SAFEGAITER app. https://working.ubishops.ca/covid-19/. 

Everyone must stay away from class if ill. Contact the COVID-19 telephone line (1-877-644-4545) if you have any symptoms of the coronavirus. Do not go the University’s Health Clinic.


Questions are welcome before, after and during class. Apart from office hours, I am happy to arrange to meet with you at other times. You are welcome to send e-mails or contact me via Teams or the course web site. You are also welcome to use the Q&A forum on moodle at any time. I will respond to questions either with an answer or a time when I will be able to answer. If you have not heard back within 48 hours, please re-send, in case the message has gone astray.

As per University regulation, your “ubishops.ca” address is deemed to be the official e-mail between the University and its students. Therefore, you will be e-mailed at your university address as needed. To minimize e-mail volume, I will post most course updates and expectations via moodle. When you visit the moodle page, start with the “Communications Log” at the top of the page.

Submission of written work

All work should be submitted using the course moodle page. If uploading essays, please upload as a pdf, to facilitate online marking. Deadlines for weekly assignments will not be extended, in order to allow the course to move. If you require an extension on one of your other essays, please try to let me know in advance, rather than at the last minute.

Language of instruction

In accordance with the University’s policy on Language of instruction, students have the option to submit individual written work in English or French.

Academic integrity

Plagiarism (a form of academic dishonesty in which one person submits or presents the work of another person as their own), self-plagiarism (submitting the same work in different courses) and cheating (dishonest behaviour, usually in tests or examinations) are not acceptable.

Plagiarism is a kind of academic dishonesty in which an individual uses the work of another without appropriate acknowledgement. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to the following practices:

• Using another’s work without acknowledgement

• Copying material without quotation marks

• Paraphrasing too closely the exact words of the originating author

• Submitting as one’s own work written in whole or in part by another individual

• Submitting in whole or in part work for which the student has received credit in another course, unless the permission of the instructor has been obtained

• Submitting any statement of fact known to be false or providing a fabricated reference to a source

For details, see the university calendar section on plagiarism, available online.

Supporting your Success

Your academic performance is closely tied to your personal well-being and mental health. It is understood that university students encounter setbacks from time to time that can impact their academics. If you encounter difficulties and need assistance, it is important to reach out and take advantage of the resources available to you. For help and information addressing mental or physical health concerns, including meeting with a Bishop’s counsellor or nurse, visit: www.ubishops.ca/student-services/. If you are experiencing any personal difficulties that make it hard for you to meet your course requirements, please talk with your professor(s) or academic Dean. You should also connect with our professionals in student support services for your specific physical or mental health needs.

Accessibility & Accommodation Services

The Student Accessibility & Accommodation Services helps ensure that all students with disabilities have equal access to programs at Bishop’s University. They arrange for reasonable accommodations in accordance with Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the new Act Respecting Equal Access to Employment in Public Bodies and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For more information: http://www.ubishops.ca/future-current-students/student-campus-life/student-services/student-accessibility-accommodation-services/.

Mental Health

The University values the mental health and wellbeing of its students. Professional counsellors are available to help students deal with personal concerns related to adapting to University life, family problems, relationships, difficulties with drugs & alcohol, depression, anxiety and other matters, all of which are handled in complete confidentiality. To book an appointment with one of these counsellors, contact Ms. Francine Hamel by email (Francine.hamel@ubishops.ca) or by phone at (819) 822-9600 ext. 2695.

Access to library resources

The Library Learning Commons has been expanding use of online sources and now has a new catalogue system. A video on how to sue the new catalogue will be available this term. Many books are available in e-book format. You can also consult google books and JSTOR for access to some book previews. Articles are generally available online. If they are not, you may request a pdf of an article, using the Inter-Library Loan system available for free through the library.

An increasing number of primary sources are available online. I will provide a guide to finding primary sources online in advance of essay due dates.

Access to help centres

Essays at university are expected to be of high quality. The Writing Centre offers free help with planning, organizing, outlining, sentence structure, grammar, referencing and citations. For details and to make an online appointment, visit https://www.ubishops.ca/academic-programs/bu-liberal-education-model/english-writing-proficiency/online-appointment-instructions/.

The Bishop’s University History Association University (BUHA) offers students free help through the Help Centre staffed with upper year students. For details, contact the instructor or BUHA.

Bishop’s University is located on the Traditional and Unceded Territory of the Abenaki People.

Class schedule and readings

The readings should be completed before our class meetings on Mondays. Class topics are subject to change.

Week 1:

Class meeting on Monday, September 14. Topic focus: colonial Canada

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 1, “Dominion-building and empire-building” (to be completed before the first class)

Primary source: Canadian stamp, 1898

Week 2:

Class meeting on Monday, September 21. Topic focus: Imperialism, nationalism and wars

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 2

Primary source: Gordon Sinclair, Footloose in India, excerpts

Simulation: The naval debate

Week 3:

Class meeting on Monday, September 28. Topic focus: Merchants and missionaries

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 3, “Canada and the first age of globalization”

Primary source: House of Commons Debates on Japanese migration, 1908, https://pier21.ca/research/immigration-history/gentlemens-agreement-1908

Week 4:

Class meeting on Monday, October 5. Topic focus: the war, autonomy and conscription

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 4, “Canada’s Great War”

Primary source: Letter on Canada and the West Indies from Documents on Canadian External Relations

Week 5:

Week of Monday, October 12. Since Monday is Thanksgiving, there is no class meeting this week. Normal assignments will still be posted and expected.

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 5, “North Americanism and the search for peace”

Primary source: Armenia documents

Simulation: Next for Duty? Canada and the Armenia question

Week 6:

Class meeting on Monday, October 19. Topic focus: Canada, intervention and the League of Nations

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 6, “Canada and the Descent to War”

Primary source: Allies not subjects? The Six Nations appeal to the League of Nations, http://historybeyondborders.ca/?p=189

Week 7:

Class meeting on Monday, October 26. Topic focus: A new role in the world?

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 7, “The North Atlantic Triangle from World War to Cold War”

Primary source: Louis St. Laurent, Grey lecture, 1948

Primary source analysis essay due by October 30 at midnight. If you require extra time, please speak with me in advance and let me know what due date you would like.

Week 8:

Class meeting on Monday, November 2. Topic focus: Canada and decolonization

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 8, “The Middle power and the end of empire”

Primary source: letter of instructions to first Canadian ambassador in Indonesia

Week 9:

Class meeting on Monday, November 9. Topic focus: Trade and Vietnam

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 9, “From colony to nation to colony?”

Primary source: Lester Pearson, Temple University speech

Simulation: Sleeping with the elephant: Canada-US relations in crisis

Week 10:

Class meeting on Monday, November 16. Topic focus: Development aid and human rights

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 10, “Canada and the emerging global village”

Primary source: Hugh Keenleyside letter to Lester Pearson

Week 11:

Class meeting on Monday, November 23. Topic focus: Canada vs Quebec; peacekeeping

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 11, “War and peace in the new world order”

Primary source: Canada and peacekeeping speech

Week 12:

Class meeting on Monday, November 30 and Wednesday, December 2 (make-up class for Thanksgiving). Topic focus: environmental and Indigenous diplomacy

Reading: Canada and the World chapter 12, “Globalization redux”

Primary source: Canada accepts UNDRIP speech

The final research essay is due before the exam period starts on Dec. 7: therefore, by Dec. 6 by midnight. If you require extra time, please speak with me in advance and let me know what due date you would like.